Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Penn St. Nittany Lions Pick & Prediction MARCH 2nd 2024

Minnesota will try to complete a regular-season sweep against Penn State when the teams tip off in a Big Ten Conference matchup Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis.

The Golden Gophers (17-11, 8-9 Big Ten) return to their home court after sustaining back-to-back losses on the road against Nebraska and No. 13 Illinois. They scored 97 points in their most recent game against the Fighting Illini but gave up 105 in a frenzied contest.

Minnesota coach Ben Johnson said his players should remain confident heading forward.

“We knew, to beat this team and to be in the game, we had to score,” Johnson said. “I’m just most proud of the battle, the fight and the perseverance on the road against a really, really good team.”

Now, Penn State (14-15, 8-10) is hoping to pull off a rare road victory.

The Nittany Lions are coming off a 90-81 loss at Iowa on Tuesday night. Qudus Wahab scored 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting to lead Penn State, and RayQuawndis Mitchell scored 16 points off the bench while making all six of his attempts from the field.

Penn State coach Mike Rhoades said he wanted to see a heightened focus from his team as it traveled to Minnesota.

“I think late in the year there’s a little more urgency from teams,” Rhoades said. “People know what they’re playing for. I thought they had that the other day. …

“One thing I’m learning — this is my first year (in the Big Ten), you guys have been around longer than me — it’s like this in this league. You might play well. The next game, you get beat by 20, and everyone thinks you stink. You’ve just got to hang in there.”

Penn State is 2-7 on the road this season. Minnesota is 15-3 at home.

Minnesota won the first matchup 83-74 at Penn State on Jan. 27. Dawson Garcia scored 22 points to lead the Golden Gophers, and Ace Baldwin Jr. had 16 points to pace the Nittany Lions.

Penn State led 45-31 at halftime but Minnesota posted a 52-29 advantage in the second half to complete the comeback victory.

–Field Level Media

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